Passion, pride, profligacy, and points totals – 5 Talking Points from Liverpool 0-1 Man United


As Liverpool slumped to a home defeat against their bitter rivals – one which has consequences far beyond the bragging rights up for grabs today – here are some areas of discussion which cover passion, pride, profligacy, and points totals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the Premier League match against Manchester United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Is there enough derby passion?

A certain mentality is required to be successful in any football match at the top level, but desire, determination, and an understanding of the game is even more important in a fixture such as today’s.

This doesn’t mean that this passion needs to come from Scouse, or even English players, and it doesn’t mean that they need to go around wading into challenges and getting sent off.

Understanding this fixture is as much about channeling any aggression in such a way that it gives an edge over the opponent; fire in the belly but ice in the mind.

Bar Emre Can who, incidentally, was unlucky not to score, no-one in the Liverpool side today was able to do this, and it showed as they fumbled around in the final third unable to put the ball in the net.

As a the famous old line goes: If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’ll win a derby my son.

Set-pieces continue to haunt Anfield

The ghosts of set pieces past, present and, more prominently, the ghost of set pieces yet to come, continue to haunt Liverpool’s 18-yard box.

Lucas and Sakho had dealt comfortably with Marouane Fellaini for the whole game, but as he rose above everyone to head onto the bar from a corner, the defence froze and allowed Wayne Rooney to score yet another goal which makes him appear better than he actually is.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp looks dejected after losing 1-0 to Manchester United during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Simon Mignolet had a sit down on the grass as the ball came off the bar, while four defenders were drawn to Fellaini and in the process forgot about the possibility of having to win a second ball.

The second ball fell to Rooney and Anfield fell silent, apart from that corner of the ground who, for once, won’t be complaining much about Van Gaal’s tactics.

Wasteful Reds refuse to score

Liverpool had 19 shots during the game, but only four of these were on target.

Captain Jordan Henderson was particularly culpable in this area of the game, and of his five efforts on goal the only one on target was side-footed tamely into the arms of David De Gea.

Shooting wasn’t the only reason for this poor showing on front of goal, however. Some sloppy build up play, poor decision making, and untidy dribbling saw Liverpool regularly fall apart in the final third.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana sees his header saved by Manchester United's goalkeeper David de Gea during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Adam Lallana, and both full-backs can all take some of the blame here and, once again, only Emre Can emerges with any credit in the bank as both his shots tested De Gea.

The lack of goals from attacking players such as Adam Lallana and Jordon Ibe in the league this season is especially worrying, and given the injury problems up front, these are the players who are required to contribute for the side to be successful.

No Impact from the bench

The fact that £32.5m worth of Belgian brawn remained seated on the bench for much of this game demonstrated how Christian Benteke is viewed by those who pick the team.

On entering the pitch on the 81st minute the number nine did little to persuade anyone that leaving him out is the wrong decision.

Joe Allen, who made a great impact after being brought on against Arsenal on Wednesday, could have been the man to add an element of control, and maybe even bag another goal as he did in midweek, but he didn’t get a look in.

Instead, the manager turned to Steven Caulker to make his second appearance up front for Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Liverpool's new signing Steven Caulker after the 2-2 draw with Arsenal the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If a centre-back signed on an emergency loan in January is being used as a centre forward in a game the club need to win to mount a top four challenge, then something has gone seriously wrong in the recruitment department somewhere down the line.

It’s now up to the new regime, led by Klopp, to sort this out. Let’s just hope Nathaniel Clyne doesn’t get injured while he does…

Top four gone?

Derbies can often be games where not losing is as important as winning, but today the game also had repercussions on the league table, and more importantly the Champions League places, on top of these local bragging rights.

It turned out that the game was a six pointer in more ways than one, as that’s now the gap between the two sides in the table, but Manchester United are still only fifth.

Liverpool are now eight points behind a fourth placed Spurs side who look to be having a serious run at the top four under the impressive management of Mauricio Pochettino, making the coveted fourth place seem a long way off.

If there’s hope, it lies in the cups, but if the side can keep plugging away in the league as they now have little to lose, who knows what might happen…


MATCH REPORT: Listless Reds punished for lack of cutting edge

FAN REACTIONS: “No top four this season”

TACTICAL OVERVIEW: Attacking deficiency restricts Reds

PRESS CONFERENCE: Klopp dejected

PLAYER RATINGS: Sakho and Toure good, Lallana and Can not


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  1. Whats with the Can bum licking? He was our worst midfielder today. Two chances (not taken) don’t hide 90 mins of mediocrity. What passion was Isupposed to be seeing from him? He was mousey; invisible for large part, and as always cumbersome on the ball. Only passion I saw today was Lucas Toure Sakho, and even then not enough. Lucas needs to stop fading after 70 mins, or if that is a permanent limitation, get Joe Allen on or change the shape

  2. Absolutely gutted, scum had no business winning today. One shot on target and one goal, from a set piece no less, so unlucky. We didn’t play well, but we certainly outplayed the other side which makes it an even more difficult defeat

  3. Forget top 4 in EPL, just stays mid table will do. Even if we do squeeze into the 4th place, the UCL spot is not as gd as getting it from winning the EL. Do not concentrate on EPL as the matches may be close apart, turn attention to EL which is spaced apart at least a week. Winning EL might be easier than getting the top 4 in EPL looking at the situation now. Also go for the CO Cup to get a trophy as it ends by March and next season EL spot. Forgo the FA cup, it is a not necessary distraction for our thin squad as it stretches to end May and also give EL spot beside CS spot and another trophy. Triumph in either or both the CO Cup, EL should be our priorities and these may set us on track for 2016/7 Season.

  4. This has got to be one of the weakest couple of derby matches I’ve ever seen…little to no doubt about it..such a flat dull atmosphere in both matches, and both were snoozefests. Lack of a real drive or edge to most players.

  5. On your point about Ibe and Lallana, atleast Ibe has scored 3 vital goals in the League cup and Europa League for what it’s worth and is still a youngster coming off the bench with limited appearances. What’s Lallana’s excuse though?

  6. Bringing on Caulker and not using Benteke is the kind of decision the previous manager would have made, and then been suitably slated for it. Benteke isn’t necessarily setting the world alight with his general play but how is he not capable of at least matching Caulker in the air as a centre forward? Of course he is, and using a defender like this really doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to know what Klopp is thinking here. If we needed a goal then Benteke is required at some point in the game, it seems a no-brainer. If he’s not fully fit then why is he in the squad at all? I can’t quite fathom what happened here, especially given that Caulker has been brought on twice like this. It’s just weird and suggests to me that Klopp is still trying to work out his players and how best to use them.

  7. If a centre-back signed on an emergency loan in January is being used as a centre forward in a game the club need to win to mount a top four challenge, then something has gone seriously wrong in the recruitment department somewhere down the line.

    The article almost makes it look like we signed Caulker as our striker.

  8. we need a forward..simple solution for this season or we will be getting the same result till end..dan in summer go for cb and gk…please kop sign an attacker…

  9. This ain’t LFC. This is FSG FC. Toothless, clueless, passionless, lustless, helpless, hopeless… This is the result of a mistaken policy of FSG. Which of LFC players could find a place in the starting XI of the top4 teams in PL? One, two or perhaps nobody…

    The supporters have been very patient and very loyal through all these years, but there is still no sign of improvement. Instead of this things are getting worse….
    Is it not lack of quality that 9 out of 10 Henderson’s shots land in the
    Kop or in the Upper Anfield Road? Is it not lack of quality that when
    Can wins the ball in the transition either he runs with the head to a
    “wall” of two or three opponents or he needs too long to think
    till someone comes from behind and takes him the ball away?
    Is it not lack of quality that Lallana is too …soft and needs to much
    time and space to control the ball? Is it not lack of quality that
    every corner kick for the opponents looks like a penalty? Is it not
    lack of quality that Milner is too slow and Sakho always ready to
    make the fatal mistake? That Ibe makes always the same predictable
    move and is too easy to defend at one against one game? This
    personell has not the quality to approach the top. I am tired of
    watching LFC players getting the ball and turning round themselves
    not knowing what to do with it.

    But I think the worst of all is that lack of faith, the indifference you
    see from many players during the games. They often give up during a
    game…. I always wonder when I see laughing lads in Melwood after
    such a disastrous result. Do they really care? Do they really deserve
    to wear the red shirt? I have the strong feeling that Anfield became
    a very comfortable place for mediocre players who do not have any
    higher targets, are not hungry for titles. Like public employees who
    know they will get the salary anyway…. It cannot be a coincidence
    that players like Torres, Mascherano, Alonso, Meireles, Suarez even
    Sterling wanted so desperately to leave the club. Any player with
    higher targets has left in the last years and probably that will be
    the fate of Coutinho or Moreno soon. Where are the winners in this
    boring team? Where is the hunger for success? Where are the real leaders?

    I see signs of resignation in Klopp’s behaviour too. He doesn’t seem to
    believe that this team can make something more, than perhaps one good
    game every two or three months… It’s bitter to know that one more
    season is going down the river. And I have lost any hope that with
    FSG Liverpool FC could become a big team again. These guys are really
    clueless. It was a mistake to keep Rodgers in summer. The season was
    lost already in August. That was a clear sign of low ambitions. We
    will finish now somewhere between 7th and 10th. Next summer it will
    be difficult to persuade big names to come to the team with no
    european football ahead… Again. We will hear once again big words
    about a new transition period, we will be asked to show patience for
    one more time and we will have to pay more than a daily worker’s
    payment to watch some mediocre mersenaries play in a ground that they do not deserve…
    If the owners treat the team like a super-market the “consumers”
    should show them that they are not satisfied with the products they offer…

  10. We may have been robbed yesterday but the bigger issue for me was that in a game of that magnitude, only two of our players looked even remotely 4rsed today: Emre Can and Hendo, with the latter trying way too hard and it showed in his decision making and wayward shooting.
    Can anyone please shed some light on what Lallana actually offers the team? I used to be such a fan of his but I’m struggling to tolerate him at the moment. No end product whatsoever, I’m as likely to put one in the net as he is and in general his end product is appalling. Yes, he runs a lot but he hasn’t got the weight behind him or the ruthless streak to actually make it count and win a challenge. What’s the point being a footballer if you cant hold another player off the ball?
    I thought these were the types of game that were to bring the best out of Milner but he was as awful as he’s always been for us. And City wanted to keep him haha!
    On another note, I hate envying United for anything but De Gea showed us the difference that having a top goalkeeper in net makes. I know our entire defense either stood still or went to Fellaini, but for me any keeper worth his place does better there. As it goes on I’m wondering even more, what exactly has to happen for him to be replaced? A terrifying thought.
    As for set pieces, we all know we’re a joke at defending them but the other day I was thinking… When it comes to attacking them, we don’t have one player that I’d be satisfied to see standing over a free-kick or a corner. Same goes for direct free kicks and even penalties.. We once had the prowess of Gerrard and Suarez to rely on, but now we have literally no one who is a specialist. That’s a major concern and it needs to be addressed?

    Sorry for the essay/rant but I just feel yesterday underlined the fact that this season is indeed a write-off. Lets focus on winning a trophy and getting to play the way the manager wants, half of these players will be much better after a full pre-season under the manager, the other half I couldn’t give less of a $hit about!

    • I kind of agree and disagree with this 50/50.

      I think, to a man, everyone put in a shift in that game, but the lack of quality in their play can often look like a lack of drive. Firmino ran and ran, but got very few chances, Lucas was in beast mode for the majority of the game and largely kept Fellaini in his pocket, as a couple of examples.

      I can fault Migs for a lot of things this season, but not for the goal. He could get nowhere near Fellaini’s effort and did get a hand to Rooney’s, coming close to actually tipping it over.

      We had Sakho and Hendo struggling for match fitness on their second games back and both looked a little off the pace and the latter definitely tried too hard to compensate.

      Spot on regarding set pieces and the current free read in The Tomkins Times about how we have the shortest team in the PL is quite an eye opener on this front.

      Let’s go win a couple of cups now and make it a first season to remember for some positive reasons!!

      • RedKJ,
        Apologies I had forgotten Lucas, he played like a man possessed. Firmino was afforded very little time on the ball.
        It was as if they ran out of ideas.
        Really? I mean he did fall to his knees, probably didn’t mean to but still bad footwork.
        Thanks I’ll check the Tomkins Times now, been quite a while since I’ve been on that to be honest

    • If it went for De Gey or Rooney they would be interested same league situation as us. They won’t finish top 4

      Mind you we will be lucky if we get Europa. Klopp needs a clear put and a quality striker, CB and quality keeper. Just hope we can get those with Klopps reputation. It certainly won’t be because of our league position

  11. Frustrating, we’re bossing games, but not able to finish off. A pacy, aggressive winger and similar striker who both score goals would transform this side. Harsh to critisise Hendo when he and Can are doing their job against the likes of Arsenal and United. Need more than hard work from Milner and Lallana, as they just look like useful squad players rather than first team players.

  12. When we need Studge the most he is nowhere to be seen. Amazing striker when fit but when is he ever fit?
    I think the club should sell him as he clearly doesn’t care about LFC

  13. I agree that had that chance fallen to one of our players, they either would have put it over the bar or de gea would have saved it, but I only really said this to highlight the irony in Liverpool fans under rating and slating Rooney, despite the fact that he’s a much more reliable goal scorer than anybody we’ve got and he’s achieved far more than anybody we’ve got.

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